Marzipan

Posted in gluten free on December 25th, 2019 by stuart — 1 Comment so far
  • 103g ground almonds (sweet almonds)
  • 149g powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon home made golden syrup
  • 1/4tsp almond flavouring (bitter almond flavour)
  • enough water to make a thick dough (add a very little water at a time)
  • Sift together the first 2 ingredients so they are well combined. Add the golden syrup and almond flavouring and stir well. Add water as instructed. Refrigerate, preferably overnight, to allow the ingredients to properly combine.

    Marzipan is something I always disliked as a kid. To be fair, most of the commercial marzipan I ate was not very good. Making it yourself doesn’t take long. isn’t complicated, is dirt cheap, and it tastes fantastic. What are you waiting for?

    Side note: don’t worry about getting exactly 103 grams or 149 grams. A gram or two either side won’t make must difference.

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    Mustard Sauce

    Posted in gluten free, sauce on December 17th, 2019 by stuart — Be the first to comment!

    This is a wonderful accompaniment to any roast poultry dish. Give it a go.

  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour (corn starch)
  • salt to taste
  • a little white vinegar
  • 16oz milk
  • Add the first 5 ingredients together and mix into a paste. Add the milk and apply low heat, stirring frequently. Watch out for the milk curdling – this is a sign it is nearly ready. The milk will un-curdle and your mustard sauce is ready!

    Serve hot or cold.

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    Gluten Free Pie Crust

    Posted in gluten free, recipe on December 4th, 2019 by stuart — Be the first to comment!

    I have been experimenting with gluten free pie crust / short crust recipes. The experiments have been quite demoralising as none of the recipes have produced a nice, short pastry.

    This recipe delivers. I have used it for pecan pie and for mince pies. I have doubled it without any worries. Two words of caution, though: use your scales. Digital scales are dirt cheap on Amazon. Second word: be prepared to add some extra water if it needs it.

  • 100g corn starch (corn flour)
  • 100g sweet / glutinous rice flour
  • 50g sorghum flour OR oat flour
  • 30g almond flour
  • 125g cold butter
  • 1 egg
  • cold water as needed
  • pinch of salt
  • OPTION: up to 90g powdered sugar if making a sweet pie
  • Add all the dry ingredients to your food processor. Pulse to combine. Add the egg and butter. Blend until it all comes together. Add a little ice cold water a tablespoon at a time if necessary – you want it to come together as a dough, but not be damp.

    Turn out the dough onto plastic wrap. Shape it into a flattened disc. Put the wrapped dough in the fridge for at least one hour – do not skip this step! You want the dough to be thoroughly chilled before you try to work it.

    Follow the instructions on your favourite pie recipe. Enjoy!

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    Gluten free lemon poppyseed muffins

    Posted in gluten free, recipe on October 26th, 2019 by stuart — Be the first to comment!

    This recipe makes 12 regular sized muffins, or 6 giant ones.

    DRY INGREDIENTS

  • 1 and 2/3 cups whole oats
  • heaped 1/2 cup corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup poppy seeds
  • WET INGREDIENTS

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup lemon flavoured yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup fruit oil (avocado or regular olive oil)
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • DRIZZLE

  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • Heat oven to 400f. Add drizzle ingredients together and stir occasionally until completely combined. Spray bottoms of the muffin pan with non stick spray.

    Add the first 6 dry ingredients to your food processor. Grind into flour. Sift. Add any chunky bits back to the food processor and grind. Repeat until no more chunkies. Place in a mixing bowl and stir in sugar and poppy seeds.

    Blend wet ingredients. If you don’t have any lemon yoghurt, use soured cream and add 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until combined.

    Bake in oven for 20 to 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean. Let muffins sit in the muffin pans for 10 minutes. As you pull the muffins out, dip the tops into the drizzle. If you have enough drizzle left after dipping the tops, dip the bottoms into the drizzle as well for a double dip.

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    Carrot pudding

    Posted in British food, gluten free, pudding, recipe on October 6th, 2019 by stuart — Be the first to comment!

    Here’s a recipe from Mrs Beeton from 1859 or so. It’s delicious.

  • 1/2 lb. of bread crumbs (gluten free alt: mix of oats and corn flakes)
  • 4 oz. of suet (or butter)
  • 3/4 lb. carrot
  • 1/4 lb. raisins
  • 1/4 lb. currants
  • 3 oz. sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • milk
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • Boil the carrots in milk until tender enough to mash to a pulp; add the remaining ingredients. If needed, add more milk to make the pudding of the consistency of thick batter.

    If you want to steam the pudding, put the mixture into a buttered basin, tie it down with a cloth, and steam for 2-1/2 hours: if to be baked, put it into a pie-dish, and bake for about an hour; turn it out of the dish, sift sugar over it, and serve with custard or heavy cream.

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    Porridge Scones

    Posted in British food, dairy, gluten free, recipe on September 27th, 2019 by stuart — Be the first to comment!

    Porridge is another name for cooked oatmeal. It’s easy to make, cheap, and is not too bad for nutrition. So, what do you do with all the leftover porridge? Here’s one answer, and it’s two recipes for the price of one!

    OVERNIGHT SLOW COOKER PORRIDGE
    Add oats to water at a 1:4 ratio, that is for every unit of oats add 4 units of water. You can do this by volume or weight as you prefer, so long as you maintain the 1:4 ratio. For this recipe I’ll say to use 1 cup of oats to 4 cups of water along with a pinch of salt, because that’s the size of my small slow cooker.

    Plug the slow cooker in, go to bed, and in the morning have some nice warm porridge for breakfast. Put the leftovers in a plastic tub in the fridge so that they are completely cold. Thoroughly stir the refrigerated porridge before you make the scones.

    PORRIDGE SCONES

  • 50g/1.75oz steel cut oats (if you can get them, if not use regular oats)
  • 150g/5.5oz self raising flour, sifted, or gluten free alternative
  • 25g/1oz brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt (if your flour mix doesn’t already have salt)
  • 250g/9oz cold cooked porridge
  • 75-100ml/2.5-3.5oz cream (single or double cream, half and half, whipping cream, the cream left over from making clotted cream), or sour cream
  • Preheat your oven to 230C/450F. Place your lightly oiled baking sheet into the oven while it heats up.

    Combine the first 5 ingredients in a bowl and stir to mix. Add the porridge and mix with your hands. Add just enough of the cream to bring the dough together in a shaggy dough – it should look kinda ugly, not a nice smooth dough.

    Put the dough on a lightly floured surface and shape it into a thick round, about 1 inch / 2.5cm tall. Cut out into scone shapes with a cookie cutter, or deeply slash the top into 8 segments.

    Bake for 15-20 minutes for individual scones, or 20-30 minutes for the whole round. Serve with clotted cream and jam. Because of all the oats it will be hard to tell when they are done. You’ll have to practice across multiple batches till you know when they’re done.

    FLAVOUR ENHANCEMENT
    Try toasting the oats and the steel cut oats before you cook them. This will add a nice nutty flavour.

    As always, when you’re making a recipe like this you should absolutely adjust it for your own nutrition, health, or dietary reasons, so long as you keep the proportions the same. If you want to make your porridge with heavy cream I am sure it will be deliciously rich and gluttonous!

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    Ice cream

    Posted in information, rant on September 22nd, 2019 by stuart — Be the first to comment!

    Recently I saw one of the kids at my son’s school eating an ice cream bar. Well, it was called an “ice cream bar”.

    Then I looked at the ingredients.

  • nonfat milk and milkfat
  • water
  • sugar
  • corn syrup
  • whey
  • citric acid
  • stabiliser (mono & diglycerides, guar gum, polysorbate 80, xanthan gum and and carob bean gum
  • artificial flavour
  • artificial colour (red #40, yellow #5, blue #1)
  • I read these ingredients with increasing horror. WHAT is this stuff? It sure as heck doesn’t sound like ice cream! I immediately searched for an easy ice cream recipe. Compare the above with this ice cream recipe:

  • 1.75 cups heavy cream
  • 1.25 cup whole milk
  • 0.75 cup sugar
  • 1/8th teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean split in half
  • Which would you rather feed your child? I know which one I prefer. Hop on over to Barefeet in the Kitchen for the full ice cream recipe.

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    Sodium citrate

    Posted in cheese, dairy, information, recipe on September 5th, 2019 by stuart — Be the first to comment!

    Is a moderately expensive substance to buy.

    But why would you buy some anyway?

    Because you can turn any cheese into melty cheese. How’d you like a slab of “processed cheese” that melts just like those cheese slices, but it’s made from an actual cheese? Sodium citrate does it. It’s also used in molecular gastronomy, but I don’t do that. Yet… 😉

    But why would you buy it.. when you can make it? Well, I am a cheapskate. So I made it.

    I provide weights in metric first. Accuracy is important in this recipe so please use metric if you can.

  • 125g (1/2 cup) water
  • 97g (3.42oz) sodium bicarbonate / bicarbonate of soda / baking soda
  • 74g (2.61oz) citric acid
  • Add the citric acid to the water. Stir till the citric acid is dissolved. Warning before adding the baking soda – it will fizz like mad. Make sure the pot you use is a large one.

    Add the baking soda. Stir thoroughly while it’s fizzing. Once the foam dies down, it will fizz gently for a while – possibly over an hour. Keep an eye on the pot, and stir from time to time if you start seeing any cloudiness.

    Once the fizzing has died down, heat the liquid on medium-high until it comes to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and keep stirring. You want to cook off all the water. Stir constantly, you want to break up the crystals as they form.

    Once all the water is cooked off, you’re left with what looks like slightly odd shaped salt. That’s your sodium citrate.

    The thickness of the cheese product will depend on the ratio of liquid to cheese. If you weigh the cheese and then add the liquid as a percent of the weight you will get:

  • Cheese plus 0% to 35% liquid – firm, moulded cheese, cheese slices
  • Cheese plus 35% to 85% liquid – thick and flowing cheese sauce, good for dips and quesos
  • Cheese plus 85% to 120% liquid – thin cheese sauce, cheese foam, fondues, mac and cheese
  • Cheese plus 120% liquid or more – continues to become thinner and thinner.
  • Add sodium citrate at 2% to 3% of the combined weight of the cheese and the liquid. As a specific example, to make a tasty cheese slice:

  • 400g/14oz aged cheddar, shredded
  • 140g/5oz water
  • 15g/0.53oz sodium citrate
  • Add the sodium citrate to the water, stir while heating over low-medium until it’s dissolved, add the shredded cheese and stir until the cheese melts. Quickly transfer to a plastic wrap lined mould and refrigerate until completely cold. Slice thinly and melt over your burgers!

    Further customisation – instead of cheddar, why not try blue? Or pepperjack/blue cheese blend? What about the liquid – again, let your imagination go wild. Water, milk, cream, stock, beer, what do you want to add? What will go with your final dish?

    Since sodium citrate brings a salty, sour taste it’s important to use appropriate proportions while keeping the flavour of the dish in mind. But with it being so cheap to make, you can experiment to your heart’s content.

    Final note – a double batch of this yields 231g, or just over a half pound of SC. This should keep you in experimental materials for quite a few batches!

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    Chai

    Posted in Indian food, recipe on August 31st, 2019 by stuart — Be the first to comment!

    Chai is a spiced tea blend from India.

    The correct name for chai is… chai. Saying chai tea latte is saying “tea tea latte”. So stop calling it chai tea, it sounds silly 😉

  • 0.5″/1cm piece of cinnamon bark
  • 9 whole cloves
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 5 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • half whole star anise
  • 0.25 tsp ginger powder
  • pinch of nutmeg or mace
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp Assam tea leaves
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup milk
  • Add the whole spices to a saucepan. Add the water. Bring water to a boil then take pot off heat. Allow whole spices to steep for 30 to 45 minutes. Once whole spices have steeped, add the milk and bring water, spice, and milk mix to a boil. Take pot off heat. Add ground spices, sugar, and tea. Allow to steep for 5 minutes.

    This recipe doubles very easily, which is just as well because you’ll probably drink the whole batch in no time!

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    Pilau Rice

    Posted in curry, recipe on August 28th, 2019 by stuart — Be the first to comment!

    Pilau rice is one of the base dishes for any curry. But here I need to draw a line between restaurant style pilau rice, and traditional pilau rice. Restaurant style is a lot quicker – and cheaper – to make.

    This recipe makes 4 to 5 portions to serve with a nice curry, or a base for a very large pot of biryani.

  • 350g/12.3oz basmati rice, well rinsed, soaked for 30 minutes, drained
  • 650ml/22oz water
  • 1.5tsp cooking oil
  • 0.5tsp salt
  • 1.5tsp ginger/garlic paste (*see note*)
  • 0.75 cinnamon stick
  • 9 whole green cardamom
  • 6 Asian bay leaves(*see note*)
  • 7 cloves
  • 1.5 star anise
  • 1 tsp cumin seed
  • 0.75 tsp turmeric
  • Add all ingredients into a pot. Stir just to combine. Cover pot. Put over medium high heat until the water boils. Turn heat down to low and cook for 15 minutes. Once the time is up take off the heat and gently fluff the rice with a fork.

    Serve immediately.

    INGREDIENT NOTE
    Asian bay leaf – called tej patta, this is a different thing from the European bay leaf. European bay is a laurel, tej is the leaf of the cassia plant that provides most of the cinnamon crop. The tej leaf has 3 veins on the underside and smells slightly of cinnamon.
    Ginger garlic paste – you can make it yourself from scratch with equal weights of ginger and garlic with just enough oil to make a pourable but thick paste. I buy it from a local Indian/Pakistani grocery supply store because they sell it way cheaper than I can make it.

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